The other day, Aaron (Formerly and affectionately known as "hog boy") wrote me about how he still holds fast to his memories of being in "The Reg." Specifically, he was recounting tales of a Sergeant named Weathers (affectionately known as "Psycho"). Coincidentally, that very morning, I'd be telling a Psycho story.
The thing I like most about Tim O'Brien books (other than some spectacular paragraphs: see below) is that he has dedicated his writing career to understanding that one year period where he fought in Vietnam. It makes me feel a bit more legitimate in my attempts to understand my own time as a peace-time grunt, in my attempts to contextualize and crystallize the experiences of myself and other Canadian grunts, past and present.
For Aaron, I think he sometimes wonders why it holds him so fast after so many years. Certainly I wonder this too. Why do I still read license plates phonetically while running? Why have I allowed my artistic practice to be so singularly focused? I'd be pretty interested in making art about Quantum theory and the gifts of the universe.
But wait, that's exactly what I am doing, just down the barrel of a 5.56MM rifle.
Today, Maj. Kevin Barry, CO of 3PPCLI, called me, in an email to one of his officers, "a friend of the Regiment.". And I felt that I had made one more step back into the thing I ran so hard and fast from 2 decades ago. In short, I felt pleased, validated and successful. Or maybe what I'm doing is ghettoizing myself. Time will tell. Time is also what turns kittens into cats.
From Tim O'Brien's, Going After Cacciato
"Insight, vision. What you remember is determined by what you see, and what you see depends on what you remember. A cycle, Doc Peret had said. A cycle that has to be broken. And this requires a fierce concentration on the process itself: Focus on the order of things, sort out the flow of events so as to understand how one thing led to another, search for the point at which what happened had been extended into a vision of what might have happened. Where was the fulcrum? Where did it tilt from fact to imagination?"